- The Blues win the Six Nations Tournament if they win very widely: with the offensive bonus and 21 points difference
- Bernard Le Roux is back, Swan Rebbadj holds for the first time with the Blues
- Gaël Fickou replaces Teddy Thomas on the wing, Arthur Vincent will start in the center
- The XV of France has not won the Tournament since 2010
The Blues win the Tournament if …
Imperative victory for the XV of France against Scotland to win the Six Nations Tournament. And a simple victory will not be enough: the Blues must win with the offensive bonus (so 4 minimum tries) and at least 21 points difference. Another equally perilous solution: win with the offensive bonus by 20 points difference and register at least six tries. The XV of France will have to be as effective in attack as in defense.
The most important game for the Blues
Since the arrival of Fabien Galthié and his staff, a new wind blows on French rugby. After years of scarcity and “encouraging defeats”, as the saying goes, the XV of France has found the way to victory and offers a very exciting game. But the team led by captain Charles Ollivon must now win titles. The Blues came very close to winning theAutumn Cup last November, but they were finally beaten by the English at the end of extra time (22-19). This new competition, created from scratch during the Covid period, does not have the prestige of the Six Nations Tournament, which the XV of France no longer won in 2010. The new French generation has the opportunity to show that ‘it is one of the best teams on the planet rugby.
Despite the tension logically aroused by this decisive match, Charles Ollivon remained very calm Thursday at a press conference. He assured that before thinking of winning the Tournament, the Blues were first focused on winning the meeting itself. “The first thing is the will to win this meeting. We will build it, we stay focused on it. It will be tough, we know the quality of our opponent. We will have to be consistent for 80 minutes.”
We can hardly believe it, especially when we listen to his teammate Gaël Fickou: “we can go for the title, we will give 200% to bring it back. It would be huge. Even the youngest are aware that it has been ten years since the The France team has not won anything. It’s been so long that everyone has been waiting for this. My black bread, I ate it, “said the captain of the French defense.
A particular context and annoyed Scots
This weekend, French rugby should have had its eyes riveted on the resumption of the Top 14. The Tournament should have ended last Saturday, with the reception of Wales. But the many cases of Covid-19 identified in the French ranks and the fiasco of the visibly leaky health bubble led to the postponement of the France-Scotland match, initially scheduled for the end of February.
We keep repeating that the Blues must win with 21 points difference to win the Tournament, as if the victory against Scotland was a formality, and this annoyed the Scottish captain Stuart Hogg a lot: “a lot of things were said and it starts to annoy me to hear that they have to gain more than 20 points. We read a statement from one of their players saying that they have a trophy to win. As a Scotsman , and proud of it, it hurt me a lot. “
Update on the composition of the Blues
The suspension of the second line Paul Willemse after a red card received against Wales on Saturday, and the withdrawal of opener Matthieu Jalibert because of a concussion, forced Fabien Galthié and his staff to make some changes. Romain Ntamack replaces the Bordelais and will start alongside his club teammate, Antoine Dupont.
In the second line, the Blues take advantage of the return of the formidable Bernard Le Roux, forfeit against England and the Welsh because of a muscle injury in the thigh. The return of the Racingman is timely because it is the hecatomb among the Blues in this sector: Paul Willemse being suspended, Swan Rebbadj holds for the first time in his career in blue. Romain Taofifenua, injured in the knee last Saturday, is him on the bench. Change also in the back lines: Gaël Fickou, who celebrates his 27th birthday on Friday, slips to the wing to replace Teddy Thomas, and Arthur Vincent will start in the center.
Our hinge tonight! We think very hard about @MattJalibert before this game. We know that you will be behind the team tonight and we will try to win for you too! ✊ #FRAECO#XVdeFrance#NeFaisonsXVpic.twitter.com/soXrZHp9YW
— France Rugby (@FranceRugby) March 26, 2021
The composition of the two teams:
France : Dulin – Penaud, Vakatawa, Vincent, Fickou – Ntamack, Dupont – Ollivon (cap.), Alldritt, Jelonch – Rebbadj, Le Roux – Haouas, Marchand, Baille.
Substitutes: Chat, Gros, Atonio, Taofifenua, Cretin, Serin, Bouthier, Thomas
Scotland : Hogg – Graham, Harris, Johnson, Van der Merwe – Russell, Price – Watson, Haining, Ritchie – Gilchrist, Skinner – Z. Fagerson, Turner, Sutherland.
Substitutes: Cherry, Kebble, Berghan, Craig, Haining, Steele, Hastings, Jones.
Update on the composition of Scotland
The Scots are not approaching the last match of the Tournament in the best conditions. The rescheduling of this match, outside the initially scheduled international window, forced Scotland coach Gregor Townsend to prepare for the match without some of his players, as the English league resumed.
The XV du Chardon therefore advances in particular without his winger-back Sean Maitland, for example. At the opening half position, Finn Russell, known to be capable of both the best and the worst, finds his place. The Scots recorded Thursday the withdrawal of their third row Matt Fagerson, injured in the ankle. He is replaced by Nick Haining.
The tweet that agitated the pre-match
There are “international days” of just about everything and it is therefore only logical that there is an international waffle day, celebrated on March 25th. What is the relationship with the XV of France? Last February, when serious doubts about compliance with the health bubble among the Blues had already been expressed, French players were seen eating waffles in the streets of Rome. If we do not know if this event is responsible for contamination in Marcoussis, a few days later the postponement of the France-Scotland match had been formalized.
“We wish you all a great International Waffle Day,” tweeted Thursday. France Rugby, the account of the French team, accompanied by a photo of a waffle with a view of the Eiffel Tower. But the initiative was deemed inappropriate by many Internet users who would have preferred to see the blue camp lay low in this affair.
Source site www.europe1.fr